In any undertaking, there are those moments where albeit our knowledge, confidence and expertise, we feel like asking, confiding, comparing and especially echoing our gut feelings with other professionals. It’s for these moments that this column was created.
It’s a pleasure to meet you. My name is Nili Goldfein and I’m the EVP Business Development & Marketing, Managing Partner at NGG Global Consulting Solutions. For 30 years now, I’ve been providing management consulting services, guiding organizations, boards, executives and managers through change processes, which in many cases entails working at the corporate level with HR departments in Israel and across the globe.
Each month, in this column, I will be answering a professional question that refers to topics that concern HR in the most practical way. My assumption is that we all read the same journals, listen to the same TED Talks, visit the same websites and go to the same events. Hence, this column will deal with issues from the field, which include the expertise and understanding I gained from the projects I lead – and from those we are still leading in an integrative manner, locally and worldwide.
You are welcome to email me directly at nili_go@nggconsult. If the topic discussed is too specific, and to the best of my understanding will interest only a small number of readers, I’ll suggest a short conversation or will answer back in the email.
Additional articles related to HR are available on the NGG Blog.
A Disturbed World
April 2018, Question:
In my organization everyone is currently topsy-turvy. No one has time for organized processes and everyone is angry at me for still insisting that managers conduct onboarding processes, evaluations and time attendance confirmation. Is this the case with everyone, or is it just me? And, do you have some good advice on this matter?
Thanks in advance,
T. HR Manager
In this case the answer is “a shared sorrow is a fool’s comfort”, no offense taken, yes? We’re all like this. However this doesn’t comfort you or solve your problem. Nor mine.
In the past decade, technology had doubled the rate of advancement, and its implementation is only increasing; five generations at a work place, globalization and macroeconomic changes are rocking the boat. Since the “future is not what it used to be”, organizations find it difficult to create long-term strategical plans, and naturally when an organization is unclear about its direction, HR finds it hard to overcome such gaps as they cannot be clearly identified.
The first practical advice I can provide is to accept that this is the given situation, and it’s not about to change drastically in the upcoming years. VUCA (Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, Ambiguity) will continue being the most common expression in our lives and no one will be able to provide us with a strategy from which to extract a brilliant work plan.
So, what can be done?
- Business environment: understanding the big picture
In most of the organizations I work at, HR managers don’t read economic journals or go to exhibitions. To my question “why”, they answer that they are overloaded and busy with their everyday tasks. In an era of swirling change that has a tremendous impact on us all, I recommend, notwithstanding the stress (understood) and the (familiar) jingle, to take the time to read. Economic newspapers, TED Talks, management books, relevant articles. Any piece of information that assists in understanding the market in which our organization plays, will help us create the work plans our organization needs, because there is no one to direct us, rather we need to.
Tip: Subscribe to any economic newspaper or magazine. Skim through before going to sleep. Choose TED Talks and tag them. Watch one while waiting for a meeting, and if it’s really good, forward it to the managers in your organization and to colleagues in other organizations.
- Technology: if you can’t beat it, join it
Due to the complexity of the world, frequent changes, spread-out organizations and talent shortage, we must become friendly with technology in almost any role. Which technology to apply, is a question that the answer to it changes from function to function and organization to organization. However, the role of HR analytics – ongoing use of data and overall HR process management on systems – is a must. At the same time, we can say that the use of the right systems requires the involvement of the managers in an organization.
The role of HR is truly undergoing a huge change. We are essential business partners because talent is a resource. And a missing resource. We cannot manage the talent-related processes on our own and need to include the managers in the organization, and at times the talent itself. This complexity strongly demonstrates the ability to collaborate, influence and… put one’s ego on the side.
Tip: Create management training processes. Choose the right technology systems and make use of them together with the managers and employees in the organization. This is a big task and cannot be handled alone.
- Talent: redefining recruitment, staffing and employment methods
The lifecycle of an employee, as it once existed, clearly still does. In the traditional industry more than in technology organizations; in the suburbs more than in the center; and with older people more than with younger populations. And still… it’s better to nip things in the bud, in all places and keep an open mind. Part time jobs, outsource companies that provide services with an invoice, working remotely, a team working on the same defined role around the clock, and recruiting human capital that are talented people, yet we provide them the relevant training in terms of skills. The lack of talent is only expected to grow and as such there’s a need for flexible thinking, especially when considering the existing pool of talent, new complex professions that have no universities teaching them, and the shorter lifecycle of a worker or manager in an organization.
Tip: Keep an open mind for diversity and acceptance, create quick training processes for missing professions, accept employee’s short lifecycle also in critical functions for the organization, and technology-based documentation for preserving knowledge when transforming critical roles. Today there are discussions also about resource pooling among companies (including competition) and about the lack of job definition for the sake of filling in organizational tasks based on agile developing needs (job crafting).
- Far from perfect: act quickly, pay less
Perfectionism is the favored word till this very day for interviewees, when asked about their disadvantage as employees. Well, this is indeed a minus these days. To spend time on perfecting tasks turns its performance to irrelevant… the window of opportunities for delivering a product or service to the market becomes tight, and therefore the common approach today is to provide customers, internal or external, what they need, even if the task is not perfect but is at 70%-80%; then fine-tuning and perfecting is performed on the fly. This is true for everything. Starting from candidate references, through training programs up until substantial organizational processes such as performance evaluation or opinion surveys. There’s always a price for lack of perfection – and of course you must be aware of this price and pay it (with a smile), however the price for delay will probably be significantly higher. So – compromise.
Tip: All decisions come with a cost and gain. We make compromises in any process. Yes, yes, you need to learn to live with 50 shades of gray and remember that agility is the name of the game. Rigidness and perfectionism will make us miss the present, our customers’ attention who as it is have attention deficiency, and the organizational essence we are responsible for. Act quickly, forgo the perfection and try to minimize the damage – that’s the new approach. It’s upsetting, but it works…
- There’s more to learn and learn and learn… situational awareness and adoption of innovation
HR managers always work by two conflicting roles. On the one hand they need to maintain the organizational culture, employment stability and the serenity that enables an organization to function in a satisfactory manner. On the other hand, many times HR are the umbilical cord that supplies talent oxygen and blood, ideas and systems from the external environment. This balance is called equilibrium – dynamic balance between stability and innovation, preservation and change. The role requires great sensitivity in understanding the business environment, trends in the employment market, openness to innovation, thinking out of the box, together with the deep understanding of our organization and the dynamics its members undergo with these subtle balances between preservation and change. In addition, an attempt needs to be made to contain the pain of loss during these changes, which often includes parting from the old and familiar, from friends, alongside wild happiness of unleashing, changing and innovating, because that’s how things work in nature!
Tip: “Each vital thing is an organism. Each dead thing is and organization” Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh.
In a practical and chaotic world, we present the most important anchor to an organization and its personnel. We are tasked with the obligation to be a role model for an organism that is able to understand both what requires change and what demands preservation, and execute these changes – personal or organizational.
Do you have a question (of course anonymously if you want)?